New York's Democracy Protection Act Brings Transparency to Digital Campaign Ads

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On October 25, the New York State Board of Elections approved final regulations for the Democracy Protection Act that will improve the transparency of online campaign advertising and protect against illegal foreign spending in New York elections. 

The Democracy Protection Act, signed into law earlier this year, introduced new reporting and disclaimer requirements for digital campaign advertisements in New York’s state and local elections. In addition, the Act included an express prohibition on foreign entities making independent expenditures in New York elections. Along with New York, a growing number of states, including Maryland, Washington State, Vermont, and California, have recently enacted similar laws to increase digital ad disclosure and safeguard against foreign spending in U.S. elections.

CLC submitted several rounds of public comments during the State Board’s rulemaking process with suggestions to ensure the final regulations would provide greater disclosure of digital campaign advertising and prevent foreign interference in New York elections. Ultimately, the State Board incorporated many of CLC’s recommendations into the final regulations—including defining the types of foreign entities prohibited from spending in New York elections, explaining the scope of online advertisements covered under the law, and specifying how disclaimers must appear on certain digital campaign ads.

By clarifying the Democracy Protection Act’s disclosure requirements and its restrictions on foreign campaign spending, the State Board’s newly-adopted regulations will improve transparency around digital campaign advertising and protect against foreign involvement in New York’s elections.

Read CLC's Comments from September 28, 2018

Read CLC's Comments from July 23, 2018